A new study released today shows that Pennsylvania's voter ID law places excessive burden on its most vulnerable residents. Disabled, minority, low income and elderly Pennsylvanians face several obstacles as they tried to obtain the voter ID card.
The study, sponsored by SEIU and ColorOfChange.org indicates that the impact of the law was far from minimal, as proponents of the law suggested. Not only did voters face challenges as they try to obtain their identification cards, staffers at the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), the licensing centers charged with providing the cards, reported being confused on implementation of the law and were unable to effectively communicate to applicants about the process. Although many PennDOT staffers were trained, many also still reported finding the law confusing.
Some of the startling findings included reports of elderly and disabled voters waiting for hours to get their IDs - some having to return PennDOT multiple times. Voters were also misdirected to different lines and locations. Some senior and disabled voters had to forego food and medications while they waited and reported that some PennDOT did not have available restrooms.
Most shockingly, although on its face the Pennsylvania law requires PennDOT to issue voter ID free of charge, some voters were asked to pay a fee to obtain their ID. This is effectively a poll tax. Voting is a right of every eligible American, and the tremendous burden placed on some voters by this new Pennsylvania law restricts this most fundamental right.